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Love Food Hate Waste

Love Food Hate Waste

Did you know that 63% of food Canadians throw away could, at one point, have been eaten?  For the average Canadian household that amounts to 140 kilograms of waste food per year – at a cost of more than $1,100 per year.  All types of food are wasted, but in Canada the most commonly wasted foods by weight are vegetables, fruit, leftovers, bread and bakery items, followed by dairy and eggs.  Every day in Canada we waste:

  • 2,400,000 potatoes;
  • 1,225,000 apples;
  • 1,200,000 tomatoes;
  • 1,000,000 cups of milk;
  • 750,000 loaves of bread;
  • 555,000 bananas;
  • 470,000 heads of lettuce; and
  • 450,000 eggs.

Wasting food hurts the environment and costs you money.  The good news is that this problem is easy to solve.  The City has teamed up with the Fraser Valley Regional District to participate in the national Love Food Hate Waste campaign with the hopes of inspiring and empowering residents to make their food go further and waste less.  The Love Food Hate Waste campaign offers tips on food storage, meal planning and smarter shopping habits to help people avoid over-purchasing, and therefore throwing out, food.

Why Wasting Food Matters

When we waste food, we also waste all the money and resources it takes to grow, produce and distribute that food to consumers.  Getting food from farm to table, and then managing or disposing of food as waste, also has a significant carbon footprint – contributing to Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.  Canada’s 2.2 million tonnes of edible food is the equivalent of 9.8 million tonnes of CO2 and 2.1 million cars on the road.  Every tonne of household food waste that can be avoided is the equivalent of taking one car off the road each year.  

What You Can Do

Diverting food waste to composting is better than sending it to a landfill, but preventing food from being wasted in the first place is an even better way to lessen our impact on the environment.   You can reduce your food waste at home by making small changes to waste less:

  • Plan ahead.  Check your fridge and cupboards first to see what you already have.  See what needs to be used up and then think of a meal to make with those items.  Use a grocery list when shopping to avoid buying food you don’t need.  Modify recipes so you only make what you think you will actually eat.  Buy smaller amounts of foods that expire quickly (like fresh fruits and vegetables).  
  • Try a new recipe.  Over ripe fruits can be used in a smoothies or pies and wilting vegetables are great for soup.  Check out the Love Food Hate Waste recipe cards and website for some ideas on recipes to try.
  • Store it right.  Proper storage and understanding best before dates will help stop spoilage and food waste.  Move older food items to the front of the fridge or cupboard so they are used first.  Refer to the Love Food Hate Waste Fridge Brochure for tips on how to properly store your food.
  • Love your leftovers.   Pack a lunch with leftovers and take it to work or school the next day.  Offer extra leftovers to your friends and neighbours or try a new recipe to use them up.  Donate unopened, non-perishable foods to the food bank.  
  • Use your freezer.  Some foods can be frozen for longer storage.  Soups, stews, casseroles and lasagna can all be made in large batches and then frozen and defrosted when you need a quick dinner.  To keep it easy, always freeze in the portion sizes you’ll want to defrost.
  • Compost.  Don’t throw food or scraps in the garbage.  Instead, place them in your compostable waste container or backyard composter.  Refer to the City’s Curbside Collection Handbook for information on what is accepted in the curbside compostables collection program for single family homes.  Multi-family residents and industrial, commercial and institutional properties will need to contact their strata council or property management company for information on what is accepted with compostables for their property.
  • Visit Love Food Hate Waste for even more ideas on how to reduce food waste.